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Tow truck driver's conscience takes over; calls 911 and follows suspected drunk driver

Posted at 4:04 PM, Aug 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-22 14:30:03-04

A tow truck driver said his conscience drove him to do the right thing. Tony Martinez said he saw a woman he suspected of driving drunk, with a child in the back seat, so he followed and said maybe he saved a life or two.

Martinez said this is not the first time he's jumped into action by following drivers and calling the police, but he said this case will stick with him.

Don't call him a hero, but a good Samaritan? He'll take that.

"Feels great," he said. "But I would hope that anyone with a conscience would do exactly what I did."

Martinez owns Pop's Towing company and was driving his tow truck Saturday afternoon, turning onto Belvedere Road, when he suddenly noticed the woman in a car next to his truck.

"She decided to pull up next to me at this stop sign and flipped me off," said Martinez. "And decided she was going to pull out of traffic on Haverhill."

He said it was obvious to him the driver was under the influence with a child in the back seat.

"I managed to see the bottom half of the baby's feet or whatever when she pulled out and that's when I proceeded to chase her down," he said. "I couldn't sit around and not do nothing."

So he followed the driver as he was on the phone with 911. Martinez said the woman nearly hit a pedestrian and several cars.

" I was not about to let her out of my sight," he said.

Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputies caught up with Brandy Lerma near Haverhill Road and Southern Boulevard. 

PBSO said the woman had a 3-year-old in the car and was so drunk that she couldn't stand when they gave her a sobriety test. Martinez said he hopes others learn from his actions.

She now faces DUI and child abuse charges.

"If you see something say do it," he said.  "Don't be afraid, deal with the consequences if there are any you might actually help or save a life. You never know."

Martinez said he'll keep watching the roads.